EDWARDSVILLE - Sophomore striker Emily Baker is off to a good start for the girls soccer team at Alton High School, having two assists in the Redbirds' 1-3-0 start, with the team having missed 10 days after being in quarantine when one of the players tested positive for COVID-19.

Alton was only able to resume practice the day before the Redbirds lost to Edwardsville 4-0 at Tiger Stadium Tuesday evening. Baker was using her speed to get to balls and create chances for her team, making her a very dangerous player that will contribute greatly this season.

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For her hard work and contributions on the pitch, Baker has been named the Auto Butler Female Athlete of the Month for Alton High School.

Baker, who plays for head coach Gwen Sabo, felt that the team hung in well and kept battling, even after only coming back to practice the day before, and still missing several players because of COVID.

"Yeah, it was good, coming off not practicing for a week," Baker said during a post-match interview, "and not being able to be together with the team for a positive case. Coming out here after one practice, and to play against a really good team, and coming out to lose, I mean, at lease we got to play."

Baker had some very good chances in the first half, and one in particular in the second half, but couldn't put the ball in the back of the Edwardsville net.

"Their back line is pretty solid," Baker said. "I'm a sophomore, my first year playing varsity, still struggling to find the back of the net. But I'll find it sometime soon."

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Baker uses her speed very well to get to balls, creating chances for the Redbirds.

"Yeah, my speed is definitely a big thing for me," Baker said, "and being able to find the net is a big thing for me. So, with things working together, it'll help me to find the back of the net soon."

Of course, Baker and her teammates are very pleased to be back on the pitch after having missed the 2020 season, which was cancelled because of the start of the pandemic that created havoc all over the world.

"Yeah, my first varsity season," Baker said, "and it (stinks) we didn't get a season last year, due to COVID. But now, I'm in my first varsity season with my best friends, and hoping to get somewhere."

Baker's goals for the 2021 campaign are simple and basic.

"Well, I'm hoping to score my first varsity goal this year," Baker said, "and be able to at least make it to regionals."

Riverbender.com's Athlete of the Month program is made possible by the generosity of our sponsors and the cooperation of our area high schools. This is a great accomplishment and one to be very proud of. Please join us in congratulating this young athlete. We at Riverbender.com wish you continued success in your future!

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